Commentary

Published

Journal Article

© Cambridge University Press 2010. Introduction The case of Joko, a Javanese boy who suffered from repeated traumas of interpersonal origins, illustrates the principles of developmental traumatology (De Bellis, 2001). Developmental traumatology is the systematic investigation of the neurobiological impact of chronic interpersonal violence on the developing child. It is a relatively new area of study that synthesizes knowledge from developmental psychopathology, developmental neuroscience, and stress and trauma research. In the emerging field of developmental traumatology, measures of trauma (type, age of onset, and duration of trauma), as well as other mediating factors such as social support, are regarded as independent variables. Behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and neurobiological measures are considered dependent variables (De Bellis et al., 1999).Joko was interviewed while living at a Catholic orphanage, and following a horrific experience of being bullied, assaulted, all while witnessing the torture and public humiliation of his older brother, Paidjo. Joko was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He had significant symptoms of PTSD cluster B intrusions of the trauma; PTSD cluster C symptoms of dissociation, hopelessness, depression, and numbing; and PTSD cluster D symptoms of hyperarrousal (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, pp. 424–432). Neurobiological sequelae of child maltreatment may be regarded as an environmentally induced complex developmental disorder, which may lead to an array of outcomes through these clusters of symptoms (De Bellis, 2001). During adolescence, the healthy development of prefrontal cortex leads to inhibitory pathways that quiet the brain's amygdala and biological stress systems, complex structures that register the emotional rage of injustice.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • De Bellis, MD

Published Date

  • January 1, 2010

Published In

  • Formative Experiences: the Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology

Start / End Page

  • 390 - 397

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/CBO9780511711879.035

Citation Source

  • Scopus